It’s really hard to believe that something like antimatter really exists. Moreover, each type of particle has its antiparticle.
The positron is the antiparticle of the electron.
The antiproton is the antiparticle of the proton.
The antineutron is the antiparticle of the neutron.
The antineutrino is the antiparticle of the neutrino.
Let’s go back to our topic. So where did all the antimatter go. Does it surround us? Well, probably the most important thing is that when matter and antimatter meet, they destroy each other. It could seem that after big bang matter and antimatter should have been created equally and they should have been annihilated totally but that did not happened because there was more matter than antimatter in the early universe. Why? Nobody can answer that question yet…
So what can we use antimatter for?
We all know (and if you didn’t know that you know it now ;]) that the most of ships in the science fiction movies use antimatter as the fuel for propulsion. They don’t have to carry a lot of chemical fuel which our space ships do now. For an example if we wanted to travel to Mars we would need tons of chemical fuel to propel a human mission (and it would take a long long time – about two years), whereas just tens of milligrams of antimatter would do (and we would be there much faster). So why don’t we use it now? Unfortunately it’s not easy to produce or store the antimatter. Scientists claim that antimatter is the costliest material to make in the world. According to CERN, it has cost a few hundred million Swiss Francs to produce about 1 billionth of a gram. Yes it sounds crazy…but it will not be so expensive in the future. We should be able to come out with new technologies and inventions which will let us produce and store antimatter at much lower cost. Another problem we have to face is high-energy gamma rays which some antimatter reactions produce. Gamma rays are like X-rays on steroids so its more than not healthy for humans to be around them. Fortunately, NASA has founded a team of researchers to address those issue and make space voyages using antimatter more friendly to us.
Where can antimatter take us?
After we tame antimatter, doors beyond our solar system will open. Humans will leave our cozy neighborhood and we will start our journey to stars, to other galaxy. Star trek will no longer be science fiction but our day to day reality where we can study other worlds and discover things which we can now only dream about. What will happen when we get to the edge of the universe? What will happen when we send a probe inside a black hole? What will we find when we land on the other planets? People aboard spaceships which will study those things will know the answers, and what I can say from myself is, those ones will be very lucky to do things which so many people dreamed about. Probably Leonardo Da Vinci had the same thoughts when he worked on his flying machines and imagined the future of flying. It was hard at that time to see that we would have Boeing 777 Dreamliner and we would be able to travel so fast and comfortable. Therefore it is really hard to imagine what we will have in the future. In my opinion, time will come when we just buy a ticket to Alpha Centauri and fly there like we do to Japan or Australia Today…